I’m a bit nervous about meeting a wild boar face to face, but the forest road doesn’t seem to be leading anywhere, so we decide to take our chances and go through the gate, closing it carefully behind us. After a couple hundred meters we come upon the most beautiful and perfect little stone house you can imagine.
It has a little terraced garden in front going down the hillside, and a breathtaking panoramic view.
I don’t know if the owner rents it out, but this is definitely where I want to stay next time I come to Cinque Terre!! We don’t run into any cinghiali, luckily.
We continue along the path and eventually come out of the forest onto a narrow ridgeline. Vineyards descend the sheer slopes on either side of us.
Here we encounter two workers, the first people we’ve seen all day. They look at us in amazement as if we’ve just dropped out of the sky. We ask for directions back to Manarola.
The path they send us on is obviously used by vineyard workers, not tourists. It’s the narrowest and steepest yet, with little flights of high steep stone steps only about 6 inches wide in places.
We place our feet with care, but even so, I fall off the path into a bramble of wild roses and get all scratched up, and Rick has to haul me out. The amazing views and the solitude make all my cuts and bruises worth it, though.
Now we’re back in our cheerless rooms in Vernazza, fortified with gelato. In addition to the never-ending din rising from the party-crazed tourists below, there’s another sound now, the crashing and pounding of the surf on the rocks just outside the harbor. We read in Rick Steve’s book that the surf can get very high here, and that you have to be careful because you can actually get swept out to sea. Apparently this happened to some poor woman tourist while he was here—she was dragged out to sea and drowned. An unfortunate end to her vacation! None of this is bothering me right now, though. I’m still on a high from the lovely, perfect walk we’ve just taken. This is the best day I’ve spent in Italy so far!